Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Summer is rolling on, but it is important to remember that red wine is still an option. You may not be sipping it pool side, but there are certain wines that pair well with a dinner of grilled cuisine served at dusk. It is easy to slip into a white wine summer, but there are some bottles that are just too good to pass up, no matter the time of year. For me, one of those wines will always be Barolo.
Barolo is one of the most famous appellations in the wine world with its distinct characteristics and uncanny ability to delight drinkers across the world. Made with the Nebbiolo grape, Barolo is aged according to specific and strict requirements of Italian law. Barolo must be aged for three years, with 18 of those being in Oak. Why the strict requirements?
Well, for wines that carry a certain name, like Barolo or Champagne, there is a certain level of quality that is associated with the wines. A sub-par product could damage the reputation of such a prestigious wine. Barolo, like Champagne, is a labeled by its appellation rather than the grape varietal. This is very common in the old world. For a wine to be called Barolo, 100% of the grapes of Nebbiolo have to be from the region of Barolo.
So, what makes Barolo so special? The star here is the Nebbiolo grape which is rarely grown outside of the the region of Piedmont. In fact, the grape itself is named after a pervasive fog which only happens in this region rightfully called the Nebbia.
Nebbiolo, in general, is a wine with a high amount of tannin and acid structure, giving it a unique ability to age while still expressing delicate notes like violets and chocolate. I would almost always recommend decanting a Barolo to let its more austere nature settle and to allow the wine express itself fully.
Here is what's currently open:
2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Nei Cannubi Barolo DOCG
What an honor and a joy to open such a wine after all of these years in the cellar! This producer in Barolo is particularly famous, as four generations of wine makers have been involved with the vineyard. They have also spent time in public office, including presidents of banks and true members of the Italian Community.
This wine on the nose smelled like fresh mushrooms and plums. Its age has definitely settled the wine a bit. On the palate, I was greeted with a very complex profile showing notes of dried meats and even truffles. Its tannin structure was still present, but after decanting for about an hour, they had fallen back a bit to let the wine speak for itself.
We paired the wine with a leg of lamb roasted with fresh rosemary to bring out the more earthy quality of this aged Barolo. It was truly a wonderful experience.
Have any questions or comments? Don't be afraid to reach out and let me know what you have open this month.